By Tim Sullivan

The Word of God continually directs God's people towards a higher way of life by showing them what they ought to do. For example, because of the sacrifice Jesus made for us, "we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."

1 John 3:16
16: Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

We ought to endeavor to please God more and more.

1 Thessalonians 4:1
1: Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

We heard it from our parents when we were children. We say it to our own children now. People everywhere will tell anyone who will listen what they ought to be doing. But in the end, no one can compel another to love God and obey his ways. The only person we have any hope of controlling is ourself. Each one of us must decide how we will live our life.

Jesus taught that all people ought always to pray:

Luke 18:1
1: And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

But only you can decide how much time you will commit to prayer. The psalmist did not want to be counted amongst those who neglect this spiritual duty. "As for me," he said, "I will come into thy house. As for me, I will call upon God."

Psalm 5:3, 7:
3: My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
7: But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.

Psalm 55:16-17
16: As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.
17: Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.

The prophet Samuel took his obligation to pray very seriously. He said it would be a sin against God for him to forsake this duty.

1 Samuel 12:23
23: Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:

The apostles knew that all believers ought to obey God rather than men.

Acts 5:29
29: Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Joshua knew that no matter what other men did with their lives, he himself would serve God.

Joshua 24:15
15: And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

The Bible teaches how men ought to respond to evil:

Romans 12:17
17: Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

But knowing the right thing isn't the same as doing the right thing. The psalmist refused to answer evil with evil. He chose to do the right thing.

Psalm 35:11-14
11: False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.
12: They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.
13: But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.
14: I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.

Wickedness in other people does not give anyone the excuse to follow suit. Each Christian must decide for himself what kind of person he will be.

Psalm 26:11
11: But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.



January 15, 2017 in Baton Rouge